Friday, February 19, 2010

Carrying The Sled-ge

Tavon Sledge has become a sought after item on the recruiting market.

Since the high-flying speedster transferred to Half Hollow Hills (word around the blazing Long Island beach fire, the Spring Valley, N.Y. native is allegedly staying at the Dix Hills home of teammates Tobias and Tyler Harris) Sledge's stock has shot up more than A-Rod and a Long Island juicehead.

A slew of Big East schools, West Virginia, Villanova, Pitt, Providence and Marquette to name a few, have expressed interest in the electrifying 5-foot-8 point guard.

Not to kick-start the hype machine, which is never atypical with the mention of a New York point guard (see Telfair, Sebastian for more on that one), but consider the following...

Sledge has more big ups than a Jamaican Rudeboy, mon. The class of 2011 guard's bounce is prodigious. Breaking down defenses with a full head of steam and unleashing wowing dunks are not out of this blink-quick guard's nature. Sledge's got the ability to create major momentum shifts in games.

His presence also takes some of the stress and buckets-scoring burden off McDonald's All-American Tobias and Tyler, two of the most acclaimed players in the area.

Some nature lovers entertain the activity known as bird watching (as did Indiana State fans as well as diehard Celtics fans of the 1980s when Larry Legend and Magic Johnson were basketball's Tropical Topic). Sledge goes plane watching, floating somewhere between the gym's ceiling and the harwood on a routine take to the tin.

Sledge plays every game like he just chugged down a keg of Red Bull moments before tip-off.

Of course, Sledge is most poisonous when he leaks out in transition, as few players in the city have the speed to give significant chase. They're often left sucking back wind.

Such has been the norm for teams who've played Half Hollow Hills West this season. The 19-0 Colts recently cracked the upper crust of the country's elite.

Following a 73-69 win over Christ The King, HHH crunched into the latest USA Today National Top 25 Poll, snaring the no.25 spot. They are currently the only New York team ranked.

Sledge dropped a game-high 24 points and dished out 12 dimes during the win over Christ The King, with Tobias racking up a double-double with 19 points and 14 boards.

Sledge is averaging 17 points and 11 dimes this season, following Friday’s 54-43 disposing of Sachem North.

The Harris brothers transferred back to Half Hollow Hills West this season following their stay at Long Island Lutheran, where the relationship between the boys' father, Torrel Harris, and Long Island Lutheran coach Brian Carey frayed.

Supposedly, there was an incident between Long Island Lutheran coach Brian Carey and Torrel Harris--who played his college hoops at Duquesne and Murray State--at the state tournament in Glens Falls.

The relationship between the two schools has since exacerbated, especially with the chatter about Rockland County's Sledge staying with the Harris family for the season.

Sledge has been the perfect supplement to Tobias and Tyler, whose potential Division-I suitors include Syracuse, Seton Hall, Indiana, and West Virginia.

Sledge's show-running prowess was evident when Tobias and Villanova-commit Jayvaughn Pinkston (Bishop Laughlin) went eyeball-to-eyeball at the Big Apple Invitational, which resulted in a HHH's dramatic 75-72 OT win.

When HHH needed a crucial bucket, Sledge was there to provide it. He went end-to-end and exploded to the tin, serving as a human fast break.

Sledge exposed Loughlin’s transition D, penetrated the frontline choppers at will and triggered a go-go, souped-up brand of offense. Sledge scored 21 points in the statement win.

No question, the smurf-sized Sledge will need to evolve into more of an all-around scorer, if he's to continue making coaches salivate and pan out at the next level.

He's a cerebral point guard, however, who can dole out 10+ assists on a given night with high scorers of Tobias and Tyler's stature around him.

Playing with Tobias, a Tennessee-bound forward with face-up game and Tyler (who underwent a mammoth growth spurt the summer following his sophomore year) a paper-thin 6-foot-7 southpaw with deadly outside shooting, Sledge has eased his way into the three-headed monster that's catapulted HHH to new heights.